Research Skills Come in Handy for Planning a Groovy Halloween Party

by Anne Connor

The Research, Policy & Planning Department was selected to host the Corporate Offices’ Halloween party this year. We chose “The Decade of the 1960s” as our theme. This offered a wide range of costume possibilities, a great musical selection, and something a little more upbeat than the typical “scary” Halloween focus. How do you put together an authentic theme and atmosphere when most of your team members are too young to remember the 1960s? Research! 

Katrin Ludwig chaired the highly creative party committee, from brainstorming through shopping and implementation. A thousand details, such as decorations, how the contests would operate, communications and awards all received consideration. 

One of the biggest challenges was how to come up with a strong visual theme for the 1960s without a decoration budget. The team solved the problem with a lot of research and a little ingenuity. We researched images from the 1960s, and used them to create table tents and placemats. Our favorite set of decorations consisted of giant letters spelling out “GROOVY,” along with flowers and peace signs. We cut these out and colored them ourselves, and attached them to the vertical beams next to the board room windows.  In true “Green Team” fashion, we cut the letters out of old foam board from discarded signs and displays, saving them from the landfill.


The next step in creating a ‘sixties atmosphere was music. Covita Moroney, our newest team member, went all-out producing an audiovisual extravaganza. She spent hours putting together an eclectic selection of 1960s music, merged with a huge array of digital images from the decade. Three sets of images played from different projectors throughout the board room, really “setting the scene.”

Vanessa Sweet, in an amazing “Mary Poppins” costume, emceed the event. The first feature was a Jeopardy game developed and operated by Sandra Martinez. The questions were challenging but not too obscure, no matter what decade you were born.

The costume contest featured a “People’s Choice” award (by applause meter), won handily by Ed Codina for his highly convincing “hippie” costume. The “Critics’ Choice” costume award went to April Holman, also dressed as a hippie. There were two group  costumes as well: The gang from “Scooby-Doo” (Accounting & Finance), and a group of “worker bees” demonstrating their flower power (Wesley Nurse Health Ministries™).

The food was incredible; Variak Khus and Sandra Martinez organized the food for the potluck and the food competition. There were so many items that we had plenty of time in the food line to admire everybody’s costumes. The “People’s Choice” award went to Fabiola Gil de Rubio for her Puerto Rican Saffron Rice & Beans, and the “Critics’ Choice” award went to Marilyn Stanton for her Meatballs. 

A special thanks to all the judges, and especially to Linda Lopez for mentoring us throughout this process!